Right now, Alabama has to focus on one thing. Winning.
In four weeks, Alabama has to be focused on one thing. Praying.
The path to the national championship was crushed by LSU at Bryant-Denny Stadium last weekend, and there is nothing the 'Bama fans can do about it.
However, there is something the Football Gods can do.
Much like the LSU miracle weekend in 2007, Alabama faces similar circumstances, but are actually sitting on a better seat.
In 2007 at Week 11, LSU was ranked second in the BCS standings with one loss and a win over Alabama. By Week 12, the Tigers were ranked number one in the BCS.
However, by Week 14, LSU was ranked seventh in the BCS poll. How did they get into the BCS national championship game?
Higher-ranked teams lost.
The same can be said for Ohio State. In Week 13, they were ranked fifth in the BCS. In Week 14, they were ranked third. And by the fifteenth week they were number one.
As it stood in Week 14 of 2007, 11-1 Missouri, 10-1 West Virginia, 11-1 Ohio State, 10-2 Georgia, 11-1 Kansas, and 10-2 Virginia Tech were each ahead of 10-2 LSU.
But Missouri lost to Oklahoma in the Big 12 championship game.
West Virginia lost to Pittsburgh in the final regular-season game with no conference championship.
Ohio State sat idle... take note.
Georgia didn't have anyone to play... take note.
Kansas was not going to move up because they had lost the weekend before the Big 12 championship game to Missouri. So they sat idle as well.
Virginia Tech wins the ACC championship and moves to the number three spot.
LSU wins the SEC championship game and moves to the number two BCS spot.
The Turning Point
Okay, now how does this apply to Alabama and the current situation? This will take a stretch so bare with me on this one. And, remember the stars do have to align in order to fulfill the prophecy.
LSU will win out.
Oklahoma State has no conference championship to play for, and neither does OU. They play on December third, and OSU has a bye week.
If OU beats OSU then the Cowboys are out. However, this could give OU a chance to move up the polls before beating OSU.
Number four BCS-ranked Stanford loses to Oregon this weekend, and still has to play Notre Dame.
The conference championship game would be played by the Ducks against ASU. That may provide a jump for them in the polls.
However, do the human voters want to see the Ducks lose to another SEC team in the national championship game?
Boise State sits at the fifth position, and will remain that way or go lower because they play no one. TCU will not beat them, and lends no credence to their cause.
Arkansas could spoil LSU's chances, but that would not bode well for Alabama and wouldn't help the Hogs get into the SEC championship game—let alone the national championship.
Clemson still has to play a dangerous South Carolina team, as well as a rematch against VT or GT in the ACC championship game.
Auburn needs to win this weekend, and of course Alabama needs to beat them soundly at Jordan-Hare in order to sit idle on December third and not be jumped.
Also of note is the fact that the computers love Oklahoma State.
Sitting idle while other teams play can definitely put a damper on the Tide's chance for a rematch, but at the same time, it may shake some teams out as well. The computer is what will be Alabama's friend during this period.
A Stanford loss spreads the computer points greatly. Boise has no one to play in order to move forward.
Oklahoma is dangerous, as they sit just .0858 behind 'Bama, but throttling a three-loss Auburn team at Auburn may help cushion the blow.
Oregon is a close third, but ASU may not give them enough of a boost to jump the Tide.
Georgia got jumped in 2007 because no one wanted to see a rematch of conference teams like Ohio State and Michigan back in 2006. The human voters made the move on that because it was the last game of the season.
This time around, the human voters may just want to see another matchup between LSU and Alabama because the taste is not fresh, but was interesting the first time around.
The general public may not feel the same way.
If I had to make a bet right now, I would say that the Tide does not play for the BCS national championship. However, stranger things have happened. Just ask 2007.
Out of reach, for now. Out of sight—not yet.